Tested: Michael Guest's Stacer 539 Nomad

By: John Ford, Photography by: John Ford


We review Michael Guest’s Stacer 539 Nomad in South West Rocks.

This Stacer 539 Nomad is an honest and practical all-rounder tinnie fishing boat from one of our longest-running brands. Matched with a 70-130hp E-TEC outboard motor, it will offer loads of performance in a fun-to-drive package that should last for generations.

 

Stacer 539 Nomad

Stacer 539 Nomad

Our Stacer 539 Nomad review model belonged to fishing personality Michael Guest, which he uses it regularly on his popular fishing show. When approached for a boat test, he suggested that to experience the versatility of the Stacer 539 Nomad we should put in a full day at South West Rocks where fishing opportunities range from 300mm creeks to the open ocean.

Stacer boats are one of our iconic and long-running brands. Indeed, Stacer builds an incredible 74 models across seven different ranges between 3.1m and 7.4m.

This Stacer boat is construction around the new Evo Advanced hull, using 2.5mm topsides and a 4mm bottom and transom. This gives the Stacer Nomad a solid feel that’s aided by 3mm boxed ribs and distinctive curved steps above the deep chines. This latest hull features a sharper bow design and a deeper V for a smoother ride compared with previous models, while the rolled side pressings extend forward from the transom to deflect spray.

 

135 hp Evinrude E-TEC on Stacer 539 Nomad

 

Nomad layout and design

Deck layout on Stacer 539 Nomad

The Stacer 539 Nomad is beamy for its length and while the deadrise is only 13 degrees, it’s par for the course in a pressed-metal boat and helps with stability at rest without damaging the ride too much.

The centre console is a narrow aluminium structure that leaves usable room either side. A Perspex screen gives the driver some wind protection and there’s a sturdy central grab bar but not much else for passengers to hold onto when underway. Trays underneath get personal items out of the weather, and while there’s an option for a helm seat, none was fitted here to keep the rear deck clear for fishing.

Wide full-length side pockets on the Stacer 539 Nomad hold heaps of tackle while up front are two hatches in the foredeck. The forward one houses twin batteries for the Minn Kota as well as all the safety gear, while the rear hatch has a large live-bait tank that, when removed, reveals a monster storage space.

A grey roto-moulded dash cuts down on glare and has room for twin I-Command dials and bracket-mounted Humminbird Helix 7 sounder/GPS marine electronics with side scan. A second Helix 7 electronics unit mounted in the bow includes the down scan feature. Vertical rod racks to the front and side of the console will hold up to 11 sticks and are a handy place to store gear when travelling.

The extruded aluminium side decks are wide enough to make comfortable seats and come fitted with two more rod holders and – if 13 slots for rods aren’t enough – there are four more on the well-designed bait station at the transom. Here we also found a port-side live-bait tank and a Minn Kota Talon electric anchor spike.

At our first fishing spot along the breakwall, the tide was building up steam in its escape to the open ocean and the Minn Kota Terrova I-Pilot demonstrated its worth by keeping us in range of some likely fishy outlines that had shown up on the sounder.

It allowed us to cast downstream over the fish and retrieve the soft plastics without having to deploy an anchor or constantly manoeuvre into position with the engine. The reward was four decent-sized flathead that put up a lively battle on the 3kg braid.

Helm on Michael Guest's Stacer 539 Nomad

At times the South West Rocks bar can be an unfriendly place, particularly when it silts up as it had over the preceding months. The reality is that at present the bar is dangerous at low tide and those unfamiliar with the crossing would be well advised to take extreme care. Tragically a fisherman lost his life in February when his 6.8m boat capsized and was swamped when returning from fishing. On this day it was breaking all the way across on the way out but the instant response from the 135 E-TEC meant we could pick our way through the surf to safety.

There’s a FAD in the bay which normally produces a haul of live bait but someone must have been feeding them because after 20 minutes we couldn’t encourage any on board, which meant we were reduced to casting lures over the reef at Grassy Head in the hope of finding snapper or maybe a kingie or two.

The Stacer 539 Nomad easily handled the 1m swell and short chop on the ride up the coast, cruising at 20kt with a soft ride and virtually no banging over the sharper waves.

We upped the tackle to 8kg line and heavier 7ft rods and started casting around a fish trap to see what was on offer. Again, the Minn Kota proved a bonus in a current that was trying to send us north at a rate of knots, and it wasn’t long before Guesty was on a plate-sized snapper.

I hooked into something that felt a lot bigger but it was soon heading to the horizon at warp speed and then the line went dead. A shark taking the fish? Probably. This happened a couple of times, so lacking heavy gear we headed back into the Macleay River to target the whiting that should have been schooling on the rising tide.

One of the great things about South West Rocks is its diversity of fishing opportunities that give anglers every chance of getting on the water in a huge variety of boats. If the bar is angry, you can usually find a sheltered location on the river or its estuaries.

The arm of the river winding around Shark Island to Stuarts Point holds numerous sandy run-offs and likely whiting haunts so we set some crab pots and set about casting small hard bodied lures.

 

The Trade-a-Boat verdict

Stacer 539 Nomad on the water

With a long list of fishing options, the Stacer 539 Nomad price is around $57,200. But at $41,800 for the standard setup with the 130hp E-TEC outboard motor, it’s good value and includes a drive-on trailer and safety gear.

You’d have to say the Nomad is the perfect platform for two or even three fishos to spend hours lure fishing. It’s stable and its big uncluttered floor space made it easy for us to move around. Versatility shows with a shallow draft that let us into half a metre of water without a problem yet it’s capable of making its way offshore on the right day to get amongst the big fish. 

 

HIGHS

• Simple layout gives maximum fishing room

• Smart-looking boat with quality finish

• Great performance

 

LOWS

• More grab rails for passengers would be good

• A larger fuel tank for extended trips

 

Stacer Nomad 539 specs

Stacer Nomad 539 price: $41,800

Priced from

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Hydraulic steering, bait table, Humminbird electronics, Minn Kota Terrova, Minn Kota Talon, engine upgrade, more

 

PRICE AS TESTED

$57,200 (approx.)

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Pressed aluminium, 2.5mm topsides, 4mm bottom and transom

TYPE Monohull centre-console fishing boat

LENGTH 5.45m

BEAM 2.34m

WEIGHT 490kg

DEADRISE 13°

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 6

FUEL 95L

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Evinrude E-TEC 135 HO outboard motor

TYPE Four-cylinder direct injected two-stroke outboard motor

RATED 135hp

DISPLACEMENT 2592cc

WEIGHT 196kg

GEAR RATIO 1.86:1

PROPELLER Viper S/S, 14.75in x 17in

 

SUPPLIED BY

Huett Marine Centre

1131 Pacific Hwy, Cowan 2081

Phone (02) 9456 1444

Email craig@huettmarine.com.au

Web huettmarine.com.au

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #476, on sale March 24 2016. Why not subscribe today?

 


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.